International Driving Permit

If you want to legally drive along Albania’s dazzling coastal routes and winding mountain passes, an International Driving Permit is non-negotiable for tourists renting cars or road tripping in the country.

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What is an International Driving Permit?

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is an additional document that translates your regular driver’s license into several languages, allowing you to drive legally in over 150 foreign countries.

An IDP proves you have a valid license in your home country. It doesn’t give you driving privileges alone – you must carry your regular license with the IDP abroad.

Get your International Driving Permit for Albania here.

Do Tourists Need an International Driving Permit?

Many countries require foreigners to obtain an IDP to drive legally within their borders. This includes popular tourist destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa, and Central/South America.

Some countries, like the USA, don’t require an IDP. However, having one can still ease language barriers if pulled over and facilitates the rental car process.

Before booking any trip, research whether the country requires an IDP to avoid unauthorized driving issues. General guidelines:

  • European Union – IDP recommended
  • Asia – Often mandatory
  • Africa – Usually mandatory
  • Central & South America – Frequently mandatory

If you want to drive while traveling internationally, getting an IDP is advised even when not obligatory so you avoid potential complications.

How to Get an International Driving Permit

Only authorized organizations can issue IDPs in each country. In the United States, the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) are the sole bodies permitted to distribute IDPs.

The process entails:

  1. Determine the appropriate IDP agency in your country.
  2. Submit the IDP application form with the required docs.
  3. Get passport-style photos taken for your IDP.
  4. Pay processing + permit fees.
  5. Receive IDP within 10-15 business days.

IDPs are valid for 1-3 years, depending on the issuing body. Apply well before your trip in case delays arise requesting a permit.

The Bottom Line

A quick online search indicates if the country requires an International Driving Permit for driving as a tourist. Applying through accredited agencies ensures you receive the globally recognized permit. Carry both your license and IDP when renting or driving abroad.

Although I was born in Albania, I've spent my adult life traveling there as a tourist. Being a native who visits frequently, I can give you an insider's view of Europe's best-kept secret.
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